It may be presumptuous to write about how to enjoy the May Two Four weekend. This weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer in most of Canada. Temperature-wise, it may not feel like summer but Canadians typically use this weekend to celebrate the end of winter.
The May Two-Four weekend comes early this year with the statutory holiday falling on May 19, 2015. The holiday, which honours Queen Victoria’s birthday, is celebrated on the Monday preceding her actual birthdate which is May 25.
Usually the statutory holiday happens around the date of May 24. Seemingly, this is why the weekend is called May Two-Four. Informally, it is also known as May Two-Four because beer, the unofficial drink of the weekend, is commonly sold in cases of 24 bottles. Many people buy several cases to get them through the festivities of the weekend!
Besides drinking beer, people find many ways to celebrate. Most try to take part in activities that involve the outdoors regardless of weather.
Nearly every major city and town holds a parade or a display of fireworks. Marching bands and clowns dominate the parades and charm onlookers. Children struggle to stay awake until late in the evening when skies are dark enough for all the vivid bursts of colour, noise, and smoke from professional pyrotechnic specialists.
Often families hold picnics and/or barbecues in backyards or public parks. Sometimes these events include family reunions with special foods for potluck style eating that continues from lunch time into the evening.
May Two four is the time when many people open seasonal cottages or ‘camps’. Docks are dragged back into small lakes, boats are launched, pumps for well water are primed, outdoor furniture is cleaned and placed in sunny spots. Indoors, cupboards are cleaned, rooms are dusted and beds are made up with fresh linens. This is usually a weekend of back-breaking work accompanied by prayer that machinery works, hydro is not interrupted, and necessary tools are at the ready!
Whether it’s a rustic ‘back to the land’ style of camping in a tent with few amenities or getting away in a fancy recreational vehicle with all the comforts of home, camping is often chosen for May Two Four family activity. Ontario’s Provincial Parks reported that reservations had filled all serviced and non-serviced camp sites in Southern and Central Ontario by mid April.
Gardeners feel a tug to plant during the May Two Four weekend. Dreams of bountiful summer vegetables and fantasies of brightly coloured flowers make digging, mulching and watering feel worthwhile whether it involves a large plot of land or small containers on an apartment balcony. Typically, this is the time of year when night-time temperatures no longer fall below zero so planting tender bedding plants can be done safely.
May Two Four is also a time when many choose to spend time with quieter forms of relaxation. The weekend is ideal for enjoying a long walk to do some bird watching, sitting in a hammock with a good book, hiking in a bushy area to forage for edible spring plants, or simply doing nothing.
For me, May Two Four means time at the cottage renewing friendships with people who I haven’t seen since Labour Day 2014, preparing foods for my husband to experiment cooking on his new barbecue grill, and relaxing outdoors in the sunny spring weather.
Regardless of the choice, enjoying the May Two Four weekend is a priority for every Canadian as the summer is so short in our country. How the weekend is enjoyed depends on many factors. Regardless of choice, I wish all postworksavvy readers, a carefree, worry-free time enjoying the company of others — or enjoying solitary relaxation.
If you enjoyed this post, here’s a link to an older post on the same theme — May 2-4 , May Two Four, or Victoria Day! What are your essential May 2 − 4 Traditions?